Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update on actual training and diet. Finally.

Several of you have asked how I’m doing with my running and my never-ending battle with weight. You want details. Okay, okay. Here’s the official update.

RUNNING: My running was going fairly well until ten days ago when a critical life-event in our family yanked me right down to the floor, where it still has its boot on my throat. It’s going to be this way for a while.

“For everything there is a season” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The past couple of weeks have not been the Season of Running on Schedule. They’ve been the Season of Trying to Run Every Day and Failing Pathetically.

But just so you don’t think I’m a lost cause, my power as a runner and the disciplines I’ve developed in overcoming fatigue and keeping my emotions in check come in handy as I grapple with real life. When everyone around me is imploding and I’m tempted to cave in, a familiar feeling comes over me. I’m digging down into that wellspring of resolve that we discussed a while back. It’s the Mile Twenty Marathon Miracle Moment, when we learn first and forever to hunker down. "Quitting is NOT an option. We’re runners, doncha know! BRING IT ON!"

WEIGHT: More discussion in April. But for now, know that I’m trimming down right on schedule. I’m not rail thin. I’m not plush and Rubenesque. I’m unremarkable, longing to be remarkable ... but in a good way.

Because my running is now erratic, I’ve dropped caloric intake. Because my psyche is under intense assault, I’ve made sure that my diet supports sanity. In fact, I brushed up on my research last week when I could see bad juju coming down.

There are the obvious dietary suggestions: Easy on the caffeine. Lots of water. Fresh fruit. High quality protein. Frequent, small meals. And chocolate.

What’s this you say, Bev? Chocolate?!? Part of a Stay Sane Diet?

Oh yah. Research indicates that to stay alive in times of extreme crisis, chocolate needs to be in your lunchbox. Chocolate contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that plays a key role in producing serotonin in your brain. Serotonin reduces anxiety and modulates mood. Chocolate also releases endorphins, the runner’s well kept secret for that inexplicable, happy grin at the end of a long run. It reduces pain and triggers the perception of extreme well being. I did the math, buddy. Chocolate emulates some of the benefits of running surprisingly closely.

And I’m having no trouble buying it. It’s Easter. If you want to find Bev, just look for the woman with a milk chocolate rabbit in her pocket. If both ears are gnawed off, things aren’t going well, but I’ll be fine.

See ya on the trail. Maybe tomorrow.

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